LIVE – The return of Tiger Woods

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Today Tiger Woods makes his first PGA Tour appearance for 844 days. Editor Mark Flanagan brings you live updates from day 1 of the Genesis Invitational
Posted on
February 16, 2023
Mark Flanagan in
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

1.06am: We hope you enjoyed the coverage. It was great to have Tiger back and he didn't let us down. Can he carry the momentum into tomorrow? Now that would be nice!

1.03am: The atmosphere is frisky at 18. JT holes from off the green to ramp it up and Tiger sends the fans delirious by making it three birdies in a row. At -2 he is in this... let's not forget. Rory also holes out to make it three 3s.

12.58am: Tiger has 150 for his second at 18 and, having watched Rory stick it in close, he almost hits his playing partner's ball and it comes to rest 7 feet away. Fantastic finish from the 15-time Major champion.

12:56am: How much did the fans love this from Tiger on 17

12.50am: Tiger goes straight down for the tee peg at 18. Never a bad sign and it's yet another long one from him. JT scampers one up into a good position and Rory follows Tiger up the right but can't get it past 'the old man'.

12.45am: The huge crowd at 17 are whooping and a hollering as Tiger rolls it in for a four. He is under par again and that incredible smile is back. Worth staying up for.

12.42am: Tiger can't get his 3rd anywhere near. Just too tight at the back and he has 20 feet for successive birdies. His playing partners are much closer after excellent pitches.

12.36am: Tiger lands his 3 wood on the green but it was travelling and it comes to rest in the fringe. Should get it up and down for a birdie from there. Rory hits a wild one way right.. so far in fact the crowd aren't in danger.

12.32am: Just 276 yards left for Tiger at 17. Eagle chance?

Tiger Woods drive at 17

12.29am: Another fairway found at 17 and that sets up a good birdie opportunity at the 598-yard 17th for Tiger. The limp doesn't seem to get getting any worse. He is holding it together well here.

12.23am: JT lips out for his two but Tiger doesn't make the same mistake. It's downhill but he strokes it home to get back to level par. Just caught enough of the left edge.

12.16am: The pin at 16 looks vicious. Rory doesn't challenge it, Thomas hit a classy one pin high and Tiger rolls back the years with a knockdown effort that makes a mockery of the tough pin. He's got 5 feet for birdie No 3.

12.10am: Huge backswing on Tiger's putt and he judges the 50 footer brilliantly. Thomas has a similar distance but his putt is rapid. Gets it down to 4 feet. Rory's 25 footer just drifts wide.

12.07am: Woods and JT had great positions off the tee at 15 but both the way off target with their approaches. Rory is closest after finding the rough with his drive. Can't remember a hole when all three have found the green in regulation.

12.02am: Tiger finally hits his 4th fairway at 15. Another one that gets plenty of roll. Distance is not a problem for the 47-year-old. Control has been his biggest issue today.

11.56pm: JT stays -1 but, after being three under after 6, it has not been a good afternoon for the American.

11.53pm: Boos from the crowd as JT's chip on 14 finishes 10 feet shot. No boos as Rory chips in for a birdie (are you not entertained?). Tiger can't follow him in. Cagey putt.

11.47pm: Rory lets out a primeval roar as his tee shot at the par 3 14th comes up miles short. JT also doesn't reach the green. Tiger waits for the wind to die down and knocks it in to 16 feet. That's better.

11.41pm: Tiger has had plenty of chipping practice today and it shows on 14 and he sends his 3rd to 3 feet. Thomas follows him in to a similar distance. Rory gives his birdie putt a good go. V solid today from McIlroy.

11.36pm: That approach must have looked good to Tiger. It was right on line but 20 yards short. Rory hits a superb shot out of the rough to 15 feet. JT is just a yard further on but comes up well short. Real grind this.

11.35pm: Just in case people are wondering what all the fuss is about. Here is Tiger in 2001 with all four Major and The Players. He held all five after winning at Augusta.

Tiger Woods with all four Majors and the Players in 2001

11.32pm: Rory drives into the crowd at 13 (they must be 8 deep). There is laughter as people run for cover/run towards the ball. JT and Tiger follow him into the fans. Can somebody order 8,500 crash helmets.

11.27pm: TIGER BOGEY. The great man is over par after 12 as his 8-footer is dragged way left. He has had to hit a lot of recovery shots today and it must be wearing him down.

11.24pm: Excellent chip to 8 feet from Tiger at. There is still plenty of spring in his step and Rory is happy too as he chips stone dead. Thomas also recovers well.

11.21pm: It's very scruffy as Thomas and Rory can't find the dance floor at 12 either. The leaders look a long, long way off at the moment.

11.20pm: Tiger has 207 for his 2nd and it leaks out to the right. It was his ball that a cameraman stepped on. That at least meant Tiger could get some relief but he didn't take advantage.

11.16pm: Oops a cameraman has stepped on somebody's ball on 12. We'll update up you when we know more.

11.12pm: 12 is a bit of a beast and Tiger can't find his 4th fairway of the day. He follows Rory into the rough and Thomas almost hits an identical shot to his playing partners. It's tough out there.

11.07pm: Just misses on the right for birdie at 11 and Tiger's shoulders are starting to roll as he walks away. You sense the upper part of his body is working harder than he would like/it should be.

11.04pm: Decent third for Tiger. He will have 14 feet for birdie. JT sends his chip 6 feet past while Rory lips out for eagle with a superb chip.

10.57pm: JT is a long way back on the par five and cuts one in close to the front edge. Rory has 234 and gets it all the way back. The pin position is hellish and from 223, Tiger comes up short and left. A good miss.

10.54pm: Another good drive from Tiger at 11 and the three amigos are stride for stride walking down the fairway. Rory and Tiger are having a nice chat. I think JT wants to join in.

10.52pm: Spot the Tiger!? What will we do when he hangs up his spikes (all weather cleats)?

10.47pm: Some semblance of order restored by Rory as he nearly holes a tricky birdie putt. Tiger sinks his bogey putt and you'd think he'd just made 3 from the crowd reaction. He's back to level par and seven back of Max Homa.

10.44pm: Third shot at 10 for Tiger is an utter disaster. Chips into sand. This is now reminding me of one my rounds. splashes out 8 feet and has that for bogey.

10.41pm: Sand to sand for Thomas at 10 but it looked good for most of the way. Very unfortunate. Tiger has one of those shots that would terrify most amateurs and shows us why. Fluffed it. It's never dull

10.38pm: At 10 Rory goes way left so faces a perilous chip back while Justin Thomas hits a stinker. Hand off the club and it wasn't even that good. More ET than JT.

10.35pm: Risk and reward in full effect at the short par four 10th and Tiger tries to smash a huge fade in. It's the right line but finds sand a full 40 yards short.

10.33pm: Foot-age of Tiger's dodgy ankle from @ESPNCaddie. It is well strapped and obviously all the physio and hard work is paying off at the moment.

10.29pm: Rory leaves it 9 inches short with his birdie attempt on 9 while Tiger goes agonisingly close to back-to-back birdies. He looks in the mood and turns one under.

10.26pm: Apparently Tiger Woods once put together 52 consecutive under-par rounds. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous!

10.25pm: Justin Thomas goes long at 9 and he is not enjoying life at the moment. Someone who is is Tiger Woods. He send his approach straight over the flag.  Just like the old days at the moment.

10.24pm: Plenty of deliberating from Rory in the light rough at 9. The lie looks good and he hits a lovely one into to 15 feet.

10.20pm: Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy can't follow suit at 9. The 15-time Major is striding down the fairway like a 15-time Major champion. Great to see.

10.17pm: A car horn is disturbing Tiger. Unsurprisingly. Regains his composure and smokes one. It's long and has plenty of run bearing in mind he is hitting a gentle fade. 178mph ball speed.

10.14pm: Rory and JT chip up well at 8. Both make their up-and-downs while Tigers converts to get to 1 under and gains the honour for the first time.

10.09pm: OH YES! Tiger punches his wedge into 2 feet at the 8th. Great distance control and some lovely check. The crowd love it! Birdie beckons.

10.07pm: This is how close Tiger came to holing his bunker shot at 7...

10.03pm: Justin Thomas doesn't like his drive (one of those that requires an apology from the commentator) and he's quickly gone off the boil after 2 poor shots in a row.

10.02pm: Rory gives us a great over-the-top club drop after dragging one slightly – and I mean slightly – left. Tiger hits a lovely slider. 177mph ball speed. Impressive.

9.59pm: Rory's doesn't convert a wonderful birdie opportunity and stays on one under. Tiger is level. Some energy needed in this stellar three ball. It's a bit flat.

9.57pm: Tiger just misses to the right with the birdie attempt. Still box office. The murmur after he walks towards his ball is so loud. Thomas takes a step back and then misses the par putt. Back to -2

9.52pm: Bizarre miss with a wedge from Justin Thomas while Rory puts one in really tight. Tiger has a good lie in the sand from 127 and nearly holes it! You never lose it. Good birdie chance now.

9.49pm: Justin Thomas is purring and again finds the short stuff at the 7th. Rory is again hitting iron for position and is in the right half while Tiger hits fairway and finds sand up the left. It's getting a bit ragged.

9.43pm: Rory's birdie putt shaves the hole and Justin Thomas converts after a fabulous tee shot. The USPGA champion is -3 and playing beautifully.

9.41pm: Not sure Tiger has hit a green in regulation yet and again his short game genius is required. Putts one through the fringe and for a while it looked like it had a chance. Tap-in par.

9.38pm: At the par three 6th Tiger is eyeing up his tee shot but it comes up short. That was disappointing. His playing partners hit a couple of crackers.

9.36pm: More great pics emerging of Tiger teeing of the first. Look at that head position. Hands up if you would have stuck it in the Tournament Merchandise hut

Live updates from Tiger Woods' first round

9.31pm: The sound of construction echoes through the trees as Justin Thomas dribbles in his par putt for a fabulous up and down while Tiger follows suit. Quieten down lads. It's Tiger putting.

9.28pm: JT hits a corker to muted applause. Incredible pitch up the bank and a great chance to save par. Rory's long putt is a big swinger and gets it within gimme range.

9.24pm: Tiger's drive at 5 finished in position Z and he punches it into sand where a 30-yard bunker shot awaits but he hits a beauty to 5 feet. Magic stuff.

9.23pm: JT gets a flier and can't hold the green. Scary chip back with the elevated green and virtually nothing to work with. Rory is in position A and leave his 2nd short

9.18pm: The 5th is tight and JT overdoes the draw and is in the left rough. Rory hits iron and splits the fairway, Tiger has a fairway wood and tries a stinger but it goes left and doesn't look good.

9.14pm: TIGER BOGEY. Crowd are stunned but his ten-footer was never running at it. Rory doesn't make the same mistake so JT is -2, Rory at -1 and other fella is level par.

9.12pm: Tiger chips and it comes up 10 feet short. Another struggle to make par while Thomas flops one a lot closer (3 feet) and Rory, from off the green, knocks his birdie attempt to 4 feet.

9.05pm: After a long wait on the 230-yard fourth, JT just misses on the right, Rory goes the other way and is pin high but also a long way away. Tiger goes straight right and misses the target by quite a margin

9.03pm: Here's that tee shot on 3 from Tiger. The right leg is working well.

8.53pm: Justin Thomas had a great read from Tiger's putt and takes full advantage to go 2 under while Rory has 14 feet and misses to the right. It was funny stroke.

8.51pm: A groan as Tiger's 113-yard wedge comes up 25 feet short. It was a  great drive but he doesn't capitalise on it as his birdie putt finishes 15 inches short.

8.49pm: There were amazing scenes behind the first tee as Matt Wallace, sorry I mean Tiger Woods, teed off.  Still the biggest draw in town.

Live updates from Tiger Woods' first round

8.43pm: Resplendent in 3 shades of navy, Tiger generates 180mph of ball speed as he pings one down the middle at 3. There was real zip in that swing.

8.40pm: Nerves of steel from Tiger. He's got a tricky par putt on 2 but the 15-time Major champion drains it and the crowd are roaring. Great start and all the group are one under.

8.38pm: Rory is first to putt after coming up way short and hits his 3rd to gimme range but Tiger has 41 feet and seats if 6 feet past (nervy) while JT comes up short.

8.32pm: At the 2nd, Tiger has missed on the right side and sends his 192-yarder to the front edge. Decent result and he will have 25 feet for birdie after a kind bounce off the mound

8.28pm: At the long par four 2nd, Rory misses down the left, JT nails one down the middle while Tiger hits a slider up the left but the lie in the light rough looks good.

8.25pm: Justin Thomas makes his uphill birdie attempt from 6 feet, Tiger follows him in and Rory tidies up too. 4s all round at the first and the crowd are lapping it up.

8.22pm: Tricky one for JT but he cosies his chip down to 6 feet while Rory's eagle attempt from the back comes up short.

8.21pm: Brilliant pitch from Tiger from 30 yards out. Has just 4 feet for birdie at the first.

8.18pm: Tiger has 222 to go for his second but lays up. The rough is dense. A nice position to attack the pin. JT misses left but is pin high and Rory knock it in to 20 feet from 197 out. Pitches by the pin but rolls out.

8.11pm: Huge elevated tee at the par 5 first. So inviting. Rory 'Maceelroy' goes first and pings one up the lefthand side of the fairway, Thomas finds the rough up the left and, after plenty of chants of 'Tiger, Tiger', the great man finds the light rough up the right.

Tiger Woods tees off

8pm: Amazing to think that when Tiger Woods made his PGA Tour debut at The Genesis in 1992, Rory McIlroy still hadn't hit any balls into his tumble driver and Justin Thomas was just a few months from being conceived.

7.55pm: Nine minutes before Tiger, Rory and JT tee off in California. A Tiger victory would see him go one ahead of Sam Snead to become the all-time PGA winner on 83 victories.

7.44pm: A great clip here of a 16-year-old Tiger making his PGA Tour debut at the Genesis in 1992

7.30pm: Welcome to live coverage of Tiger Woods's first appearance on a golf course since last year's Open at St Andrews. The 47-year-old has never won the Genesis Invitational – he made his tour debut in the event in 1992 as a 16-year-old amateur – and today makes his first PGA Tour appearance since the 2020 Zozo Championship. Intriguingly the 15-time Major champion has been paired with good friends Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas as he bids to win his 83rd PGA Tour event. That would make him the all-time tour winner out on his own. He is currently tied with Sam Snead on 82 victories.

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About Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan is editor of Golf Today having spent 25 years as a sports journalist. He has edited three other golf magazines and can often be found missing putts from inside gimme range.

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